The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
My protest at CUNY Law was a formative experience. I saw, with my own eyes, a woke mob. I learned quite a bit. One of the more jarring experiences was being called a white supremacist and a Nazi. My grandparents, who were both Holocaust survivors, could never have fathomed their grandson would be called a Nazi. One of the students engaged me, and explained that as a Jewish person, I was both an "oppressor" (because of my white privilege) and I was "oppressed" (because I was Jewish). This sort of dichotomy is textbook CRT. Everyone must be separated based on their level of victimhood. Those at the top of the oppression pyramid can dictate the terms of engagement for those at the bottom of the pyramid. I was inserted somewhere in the middle of that pyramid, but still, my role was constrained.
I provide this personal anecdote as an introduction to a recent incident at Stanford. The University mandates Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training. And, like the woke mob at CUNY, the Stanford DEI policy separates people based on their level of oppression. Jewish employees were lumped in together in the "whiteness accountability" affinity group, and deemed oppressors.
The Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law filed an EEOC complaint. Here is an excerpt:
Through its DEI committee, weekly seminars and racially segregated affinity groups, the CAPS DEI program has maligned and marginalized Jews on the basis of religion, race and ethnic identity by castigating Jews as white, powerful and privileged members of society who contribute to systemic racism and denying and attempting to erase Jewish ancestral identity. In addition, the DEI program has denigrated the concept of Jewish victimhood and deliberately excluded anti-Semitism from the program's agenda. Ronald Albucher (Dr. Albucher) and Sheila Levin (Ms. Levin) are two Jewish employees of Stanford University (Stanford) who have worked as mental health clinicians in CAPS throughout the timeframe described in this complaint and have been subjected to an ongoing hostile environment in the CAPS DEI program on the basis of their national origin, religion and race.
The CAPS DEI program engages in intentional racial segregation through race-based affinity groups. It relies upon racial and ethnic stereotyping and scapegoating by describing all Jews as white or white-passing and therefore complicit in anti-Black racism. Jewish staff have been pressured to attend the DEI program's racially segregated "whiteness accountability" affinity group, which was created for "staff who hold privilege via white identity" and "who are white identified, may be newly grappling with or realizing their white identity, or identify as or are perceived as white presenting or passing (aka seen as white by others even though you hold other identities)." The DEI committee has also endorsed the narrative that Jews are connected to white supremacy, advancing anti-Semitic tropes concerning Jewish power, conspiracy, and control. By endorsing an anti-Semitic narrative that designates Jews collectively as "oppressors" and responsible for systematic racism, while simultaneously denying the uniqueness of Jewish ancestral identity, the DEI committee fosters anti-Jewish sentiment and encourages hostility toward Jews.
Insider Higher Education has more details:
One of those incidents occurred on May 16, 2020, when Zoombombers disrupted a virtual Stanford town hall by displaying pictures of swastikas and weapons and using the N-word. During a CAPS DEI seminar four days later, "DEI committee members addressed the racist and anti-Black content but did not mention anti-Semitism or the anti-Semitic images of swastikas that were displayed during the Zoombombing attack," according to Albucher's complaint.
When Albucher inquired about the omission, a DEI committee member—whose name is redacted in the version of the complaint publicly released—allegedly "stated, in sum and substance, that the DEI committee decided to omit any mention of anti-Semitism so as not to dominate the discussion about anti-Black racism."
"When Dr. Albucher further expressed his concern about the decision to ignore the issue of anti-Semitism, DEI committee member [name redacted] and others accused Dr. Albucher of trying to derail the agenda's focus on anti-Black racism," his complaint alleges. "DEI committee members justified the omission of anti-Semitism by insisting that unlike other minority groups, Jews can hide behind their white identity."
Because Jews are oppressors, their oppression should be ignored. This sort of claptrap is conventional thinking on academic campuses. These DEI professionals are no different than the CUNY students who shouted me down.
When a school adopts "Anti-Racist" DEI training, faculty and students should expect this sort of treatment. It is baked into the ideology. Mandating this sort of segregated activity would run afoul of academic freedom. I refuse to acknowledge the validity of these tactics. Indeed, they run afoul of state and federal law. If forced, I would refuse to participate.
The ABA is currently considering whether to mandate this sort of training. These mandates would radically alter the way legal education is provided. Most lawyers, alas, are too afraid of being called racist to object. I'm not. The woke mob called me a Nazi and I survived. I didn't file a disciplinary complaint. I didn't sue them for defamation. I ignored them, because they are not worth taking seriously. Tenure is helpful. But untenured faculty may not be so bold. And students are stuck.